The Philippine Army (PA)’s modernization efforts now include activating the Aviation Regiment. The activation is expected to happen sometime within this year.
According to Col. Romulo Manuel, the activation this year will be followed by a gradually equipping of the Regiment. Manuel reported that four to eight helicopters will be acquired for the PA’s Aviation Regiment and Army pilots are currently undergoing training in civilian flight schools to get certified to operate these aircraft.
Further, a multi-launch rocket system (MLRS) acquired by the PA from South Korea, the “Kooryung”, will be undergoing its second visual inspection soon. The Kooryung reportedly has a range of 49 kilometers to 80 kilometers. The MRLS can be used for internal and territorial defense.
“May pinag-usapan sa (there are talks on what to use as) transport system (for the MLRS),” Manuel said.
The Kooryung is composed of four batteries, with one going to the Philippine Marine Corps. A battery consists of six launcher tubes or artillery pieces.
“Actually, the Revised Armed Forces Modernization is for all, not only for the Air Force and Navy, including the Army. We have different Horizons (which consists of three) so right now we are in the Second Horizon to procure equipment so it’s ready, the President (Rodrigo Duterte) has allotted funds for the procurement of like modern equipment, like self-propelled artillery, this will be used in the territorial defense, right now the Army is contemplating to buy one land-based system, we have already upgraded our air aviation, from (Army) Aviation Battalion, it will be upgraded to (Army) Aviation Regiment wherein our Army will have its own helicopters to support its ground forces,” he added.
The Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program began in 2013. The full program is aimed for completion by 2028. The First Horizon of the program began in 2013 and ended in 2017. The Second Horizon began in 2018 and will end in 2023.
Other currently ongoing procurement programs of the PA include an acquisition program for 155 mm self-propelled artillery and other land-based weapons systems.